Celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary in Sapporo

17 02 2010

Coming all the way to Hokkaido, Benno wanted to visit an Ainu culture museum. Ainu are the indigenous peoples of Japan, the last remnants live in Hokkaido. The Sapporo Ainu Culture Promotion Center, Pirka Kotan, was at the end of a subway line followed by a 40 minute bus journey. We got on a number 12 bus, which is what we thought was the right one according to sightseeing map. However, it took a different route. The bus driver stopped at the terminal and pointed us in the right direction of the main road to get the bus that goes to “Koganeyu onsen” bus stop. It was a little slippery walking on the ice, but we found the next bus stop and soon a bus came. We got to “Koganeyu” bus stop and asked the driver if it was the same as “Koganeyu onsen”. He said no, keep going. So we waited, then he stopped 3 stops later and said that if you want “Koganeyu onsen” stop, it was back there. We walked all the way back in the snow and ice (stupid bus driver) and finally found the Ainu museum. It took us about 2 hours to reach it.

The Ainu made interesting clothing. They made woven bark fabric for gloves, cloaks, headbands and bags. We went outside and saw some traditional buildings covered in snow. There was also a hut that they kept stolen bear cubs for fattening up then eating. It made Benno feel sad.

Afterwards we headed back on the bus and subway to Sapporo, then down to the end of another subway line and on another bus to lunch at Chi-e no ki, a vegan macrobiotic restaurant. It felt like a blizzard walking from the bus stop to the restaurant through all the snow. We had a lovely late lunch at around 3pm to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. We ate the curry set that came with tempeh (Benno is happy) and the fried rice set. Then we had the moist and rich carob cake for dessert and the waffle set with ginger herb tea. Unable to move but needing to get home, we waited in outside in the snow for the bus, throwing snowballs at each other and having snow fights.

We stopped off at the Jupiter International supermarket in Sapporo eki for some treats, then booked our limited express and shinkansen tickets for tomorrow’s ride home.

We ate out at Aoi Sora again for dinner. It was very enjoyable and the staff are lovely. While the menu is small, every item is delicious and beautifully presented. It was a fantastic wedding anniversary dinner. We had the fish burger (awesome, best ever) and the millet burger set with many salad options. For dessert (even though Lara was already full) Benno ordered (and ate almost entirely on his own) the hot apple pie, the parfait and genmai amezake. To top it off, we got given presents again- free rich chocolate balls that were so creamy and chocolatey. And, I think he gave us a big discount for coming again as we only paid Y4000 for all that.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped at Odori and saw the remains of the snow sculptures – a pile of snow blocks. It was almost -7 degrees and noticably chillier.

If you go to Sapporo, please eat at Aoi Sora! It’s so tasty and welcoming!